Shooting Down Heaven

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UPC: 9781609455897
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Authors: Jorge Franco (Author), Andrea Rosenberg (Translator)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions (May 19, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609455894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609455897
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches

Translated Lit ・Big Other

Expertly told by one of Latin America’s most exciting voices, Shooting Down Heaven follows the children raised by 1990s Colombia’s most dangerous drug cartels and the consequences that shape their adulthood. 

After twelve years away, Larry comes home to his native country of Colombia after his father, an old associate of Pablo Escobar, is murdered. Larry returns to collect his remains from a mass grave and give him a proper burial…but not before a reunion with his childhood friend, Pedro. Pedro picks him up at the airport to take him directly to the Alborada celebration—a popular festival where fireworks explode over Medellín, and the entire city loses its inhibitions. This is where Larry’s story really begins.

His long-awaited homecoming quickly becomes a rude awakening. The years of luxury living in bodyguard-surrounded mansions are now firmly in the past, as Larry watches his family—including his ex-beauty queen mother and troubled brother—fall deeper into depression, drug addiction, and the traps of the family business.

Faced by an uncertain reality, Larry is forced to confront his family’s turbulent history and reclaim himself from the dark remnants of a city still trying to rediscover itself. Unflinching and remarkably controlled, Jorge Franco creates a stunning portrait of a generation wounded by their parents’ mistakes.


Praise for Shooting Down Heaven

“A cheerless but supremely well-crafted story that proves Franco to be among the best Latin American writers at work today.”―Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“A lively story of how children are affected by their parents.”―The Irish Times

“Set amid the ruling class of Colombia’s drug cartels, this sleek, slick novel offers a grim assessment of the next generation’s opportunity for escape.”―The New York Times Book Review

Praise for Jorge Franco

“This is one of the Colombian authors I would like to pass the torch to.”―Gabriel García Márquez

“I recommend two novels that I have read back-to-back during my trip, both quite entertaining, though terrifying, too: They are La virgen de los sicarios by Fernando Vallejo and Rosario Tijeras by Jorge Franco. How wonderful that Colombian writers, incited by the destruction that surrounds them, have decided to save us from frivolity of light literature.”―Mario Vargas Llosa

“Mr. Franco’s darkly foreboding novels capture the gritty, often violent reality of Colombia’s urban underworld.”―The Wall Street Journal

“His kaleidoscopic stories capture the turbulent reality of recent decades…[Franco] knows how to crystallize the perennial dramatic, delusional rhythm that hangs about us like a second shadow.”―Panorama of the Americas

“It is thanks to [Franco’s] talent that his characters become fixed to our memory and dwell there as ghosts.”―El Tiempo

“Latin America’s McOndo literary movement drags the butterflies of magical realism into Burger King. With Jorge Franco’s narco-saga Rosario Tijeras, it may have found its first masterpiece.”―Rachel Aviv, Salon

“An intense, raw portrait of l’amour fou.”―Kirkus Reviews

“Undeniably powerful.”―Timothy Peters, San Francisco Chronicle

“Colombian novelist Franco offers a nuanced account of the immigration experience in this story of an illegal immigrant lost in the bowels of New York City . . . High-octane storytelling―sad and funny and real.”―Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“With Franco’s nimble prose, full-bodied characters, and portrayals of the undocumenteds’ travel and living conditions, ranging from near horrific to humorous, this is something special.”―Michele Leber, Booklist

“Franco’s typical harsh realism is balanced by humor and a sharp but sensitive eye for the constantly shifting panorama of life in the U.S. and in Colombia.”―Words Without Borders

About the Author

Jorge Franco was born in Medellín, Colombia. He studied filmmaking and directing at the London Film School in the UK and Literature at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. His first short story collection Maldito Amor and first novel Mala Noche received prestigious national awards.
Rosario Tijeras, published in 1999, has enjoyed spectacular commercial success in Colombia and marked the breakthrough of one of the most promising writers of new Latin American narrative. Paradise Travel (2002) solidly reaffirmed Jorge Franco’s reputation with the tale of a young Colombian couple who attempt to escape the widespread violence of their country of origin by fleeing to New York as illegal immigrants. Both have been translated in English.
Franco’s novel El Mundo de Afuera won the Premio Alfaguara award in 2014. Shooting Down Heaven became a #1 bestselling title in its first week in bookstores. It was recently optioned for a TV adaptation.